Mayan Economy and Trade

Maya Trade and Economy
December 23, 2018 – 12:39 pm
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Maya Trade and Economy

God L (Bolon Yookte' K'uh), was a prince of Xibalbá, as well as a wealthy god of commerce and trade. He is an old god, sometimes with the ear of a jaguar. He’s prosperous, and smokes a cigar.

Contrary to the early investigators such as Thompson, now we know that The Maya participated in long distance trade with many of the Mesoamerican cultures, including Teotihuacan, the Zapotec, and other groups in central and gulf-coast México, the Caribbean islands and down up to Colombia, as well as inter-site commerce. Favorable allocation of resources and specialization facilitated favorable trading relationships. The availability of resources is so tightly connected to economics that scholars often use economic laws, such as supply and demand, when assessing ancient Maya commerce. Specialization in trade can be defined as specialized exploitation of resources by populations in a specific environmental zone. Concentration in a specific area of commerce in response to availability of resources was key in determining the products exchanged between two groups. This long distance trade surely was accompanied by the exchange of groups. The trade network was concentrated in a lineal route that ran along the boca costa region in Guatemala and that connected Mexico with El Salvador. By the beginning of the Late Preclassic period, trade nexuses were switched to the Maya groups, with a strong orientation towards Kaminaljuyú in the Highlands. The commercial route was essentially the same, except for the fact that Kaminaljuyu and its trade connections with the Motagua basin were integrated into the network. This connection ceased to exist by the end of the Preclassic period.Obsidian Spear Point At the beginning of the Early Classic period, Tak’alik Ab’aj established new relationships with the Northwestern Guatemalan Highlands, more specifically with the Solano group that was in a process of expansion from the centers located in the northwest, and which eventually took control over Kaminaljuyu. At that time, the trade route no longer continued in line along the boca costa, but instead, it became vertical, connecting the South Coast not only with the Northwestern Altiplano but indirectly, with the Central Altiplano now under the control of the Solano group. Another change occurred during the Late Classic, when Tak’alik Ab’aj apparently became independent just like many other sites of the South Coast of Guatemala, such as Chocolá, in the department of Suchitepéquez, and Cotzumalguapa, Montana and Texas in the department of Escuintla (Bove 1989:80).

During the Preclassic the first truly state in Mesoamérica, The Mirador Basin, was linked by huge causeways that allowed the exchange of goods between bajos around 800 BC, thus giving them the strength to build the largest structures known in the Americas, including the largest Pyramid in the world, La Danta.

Marble Pot, found in Petén, Marble quarries were in the Central and Eastern Highlands in Guatemala Resplendent Quetzal near Lake Atitlán Onix bowl, Lowlands, Traded from the Highlands Spondylus objects
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